The grant to get your business started and growing must come from an agency or source that wants businesses in your specific industry to succeed. For example, the Small Business Innovation Research Program funnels as much as one billion dollars every year into start-ups and small businesses that are trying to accomplish something the SBIRC thinks is worthwhile.
The SBIRC is very serious and methodical about its approach to helping people like you, which is why they have a high success rate in launching businesses. There are three stages of help offered by the SBIRC and those are:
1) Start-up, which is the tough part of trying to get the business rolling when you have no cash flow and need resource to begin.
2) Development, which is when you have the office doors open, but again you still do not have the cash flow you need to keep growing.
3) Commercialization, which is when you take the product you have developed and put it in the marketplace to make a profit.
The SBIRC devotes its attention to technical innovations that might otherwise not get support. You can get more information about their list of opportunities if you are pursuing technology innovation by calling 202-205-6450 in Washington DC or on the web at www.sba.gov/sbir/indexsbir-sttr.html.
Almost right next door to the SBIRC is the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) which is also administrated by the Office of Technology at SBA and intended to fast-track small business start-ups with new technology innovations. The STTR also provides assistance and free business grant money for non-profit research institutions. Again, all SBA connected programs are constructed in such a way that not only do you get access to business grant money but you also get free advisory support for the growth of your business.
The government can provide you with free grant money if you have an idea or an invention that saves energy. The Depart of Energy, Inventions and Innovations Program can be reached at 202-586-2212 or www.eere.energy.gov/inventions
Sometimes the money that comes through this program is challenging to acquire, but when successful, an applicant will also get strong support in development and commercialization of their product, which means the government will benefit and so do you.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology sponsors a program called ATP or Advanced Technology Program which helps provide business grant money for high risk technology development which in turn is used for product development. The ATP can be very aggressive in support of radical innovation and can be reached for more information at 800-287-3863.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) sponsors a number of grant programs designed to increase energy efficiency. Called the National Industrial Competitiveness through Energy or NICE program, it is intended to give money to state and industry partnerships for developing new ways to be more energy efficient, or develop what is called ‘clean production’ technology. This is what happens when, for example, a small dry cleaner upgrades their workplace equipment. For more information on the specifics of how to qualify for this program, call the Department of Energy in Denver at 303-275-4824.